Bound Brook Locals Sue Somerset County, NJ Transit Over Flood Gates
BOUND BROOK, NJ – A class action lawsuit has been filed by 17 Bound Brook residents and businesses against Somerset County and the New Jersey Transit Corporation. Bound Brook locals say they suffered damage when they were flooded during Hurricane Ida when a train got stuck, preventing the floodgates in the area from closing.
The class action lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Somerset County Superior Court by the law firms Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP and Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, who represent the 17 people and businesses who were flooded in September 2021. (see the full lawsuit below)
“The flooding was the foreseeable and avoidable result of the defendants’ reckless and negligent acts and omissions,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges NJ Transit “recklessly handled and operated train 5451 during the predicted flooding, which resulted in the train becoming stuck between floodgates protecting Bound Brook.”
The lawsuit also alleges that “Somerset County and Somerset County Public Works – who controlled and operated the locks – acted recklessly by failing to close the locks before and during the anticipated flooding.”
As a result of NJ Transit and Somerset County’s actions, the lawsuit alleges floodwaters “could pour into the southwest corner of Bound Brook, damaging and destroying real estate, personal property, businesses, commerce and more.”
Both Somerset County and NJ Transit declined to comment on pending litigation with Patch.
On the night of the storm, September 1, 2021, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Raritan Valley Line train 5451 was surrounded by fast-moving flash flooding and debris as a result of unprecedented rainfall during a condensed period of time that far exceeded all forecasts , NJ Transit’s Emma Wright told Patch. Continue reading: NJ Transit responds to lock gate blockage during Ida
“A request was subsequently made by local officials to have the lock gates closed, but the train was unable to move due to the extreme flooding and debris. We had to wait until the flood waters had receded sufficiently to clear debris and conduct the necessary safety inspections on the track infrastructure before sending equipment to the location of the defective train to tow it from the scene,” Wright told Patch in 2021.
Among those joining the class action lawsuit are the owners of The Westbrook at 525 Talmage Ave. and W&W Auto & Truck Repair at 432 Talmage Ave.
Other residents of Vera Street, Talmage Avenue and Wheatland Avenue are also involved in the lawsuit.
Attorney Jeremy Abay with Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick and Raspanti said the lawsuit had three aims.
“The number one place to get answers. Find out what happened,” Abay said. “Number two is using this lawsuit to make sure this doesn’t happen again and number three is getting compensation for damage to their homes and property.”
Abay noted that most, if not all, of his clients did not have flood insurance, so any damage incurred was out of pocket.
02/01/2023 – Complaint with jury request from Alexis Tarrazi on Scribd
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